Gai chasing Cup start with St Leger winners
FROM the moment the VRC announced the Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) would carry a golden ticket into the Melbourne Cup, Gai Waterhouse targeted the race.
She knew she had the perfect horse in Runaway, who won last year's VRC St Leger, which was also run over 2800m at Flemington.
Then in April, another horse she had in mind for the Andrew Ramsden Stakes, three-year-old gelding Transact, won this year's VRC St Leger, and Waterhouse knew she had two ideal horses for this Saturday's race at Flemington.
Waterhouse and training partner Adrian Bott decided to bypass the South Australian Derby with Transact to concentrate on winning a ticket into the Melbourne Cup.
"Why wouldn't you focus on it? It's a wonderful place to be and everyone wants to be there on the first Tuesday in November," Waterhouse said.
Last year Runaway scraped into the Melbourne Cup after he won the Geelong Cup, but subsequently finished 19th.
Waterhouse would prefer to train Runaway to peak specifically for the Melbourne Cup and not try to force his way into the race this year - and the best way of doing this would be by winning on Saturday.
Runaway finished third in a hurdle trial at Cranbourne on May 9, which Waterhouse said was to sharpen him and get him fitter for this race.
"Who knows? That's where he might end up one day if he doesn't pull his socks up," she said.
Runaway has had only two starts this time in with his last run a fourth over 2000m at Caulfield behind Mr Quickie.
Waterhouse said Transact was a tough exciting young stayer and would be better suited over 2800m.
Stephen Baster will ride Runaway and Luke Currie is on Transact.
Waterhouse and Bott will also be represented in the Australian Hurdle next Sunday at Sandown Lakeside with Goodwood Zodiac.
"He's a lightly raced impressive jumper having had three jumps starts for two wins and a fourth in the Galleywood Hurdle sandwiched in between the victories," Waterhouse said.
"I liked his last start win at Hamilton as he travelled in a more tractable manner. I think he'll continue to improve with every start over the jumps.